Scientists agree that our planet faces a devastating consequence from human interference: environmental calamity. However, there is little consensus on resolving this issue other than reducing greenhouse gases, recycling, and refining consumer habits. Nevertheless, many large-scale operations have implemented sustainable practices to encourage more environmental consciousness. Universities are one example of this. Here are some of the best ways to promote sustainability on campus administrators must consider.
Host E-Waste Recycling Drives
Electronics are some of the most energy-consuming products today, not only in their operation but in their manufacturing too. When it comes to electronic disposal, many people believe throwing away outdated electronics is the appropriate step. This contributes to e-waste which has been shown to increase air, water, and ground pollution. It also risks data theft, as a huge quantity of e-waste gets sent to other countries where cybercriminals can access it. Colleges around the U.S. can avoid these issues with e-waste recycling drives. Students, faculty, and staff can donate old or outdated electronics that the university can take to a certified e-waste recycling company. These businesses will break down the electronics back to their raw materials for future use.
Start a Bike-Share Program
Another way a university can reduce their carbon footprint is through a bike-share program. Most universities have some type of public transportation system which is already more sustainable than having students drive to class. Even still, universities can implement a bike-share program to encourage sustainable travel. Biking around campus is better for less condensed areas, like college towns, rather than urban campuses. Even still, walking and biking reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption compared to automobiles.
Offer More Vegetarian and Vegan Food Options
While baffling to older people, many young people today recognize the meat and dairy industry’s effects on climate change today. Overall, these food industries have increasingly contributed to environmental catastrophes with large water and resource consumption, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emission. Colleges and universities can change this course by offering more vegetarian and vegan food options in their cafeterias. Naturally, consuming fewer meat and dairy products decreases the demand for these products. Although having completely meat- or animal-free options might be unfeasible, offering alternatives can encourage students to make healthier, more sustainable dietary choices in their lives.
Install Solar Panels on Class Buildings and Residence Halls
The last way to promote sustainability on campuses is through solar panels and renewable energy sources. Aside from the consequential environmental issues (such as deforestation, rising sea levels, and melting ice caps) that arise from nonrenewable resources, these resources are also limited. One of the main benefits of solar panels for universities is that they’re unlimited energy sources. Solar panels supply constant energy that can power classroom halls, residence buildings, cafeterias, gymnasiums, sports fields, and other campus-wide electrical requirements. Their low-maintenance, sleek design fits any college architecture. Not to mention, having sustainable technologies on campus boosts the environmental credibility of that university which can be important for attracting like-minded students.